In the Tunnels we are building:

  • Twin tunnels under Yarraville between the West Gate Freeway and the Maribyrnong River
  • Entry and exit portals where the tunnels connect with surface roads
  • Ventilation structures at each tunnel exit to remove air from inside the tunnels
  • Walking and cycling paths on Hyde Street, Harris Street, Maribyrnong Street and a bridge over Whitehall Street
  • New landscaped open space in Altona North and Footscray
  • Freeway Management System to support good traffic flow and safety
  • Tunnel safety features for smooth operation of the tunnel, including automatic detection for over-height trucks, fire systems and emergency access and exits.

In addition to construction in the Tunnels, see what’s happening in the West Gate Freeway and Port to City.

5 year construction period 2 Tunnel boring machines operating up to 24hrs a day to construct the 2 tunnels 1.5 million cubic metres of rock and soil removed for tunnel construction

Tunnels map

Tunnels - Key Works Map

Click image to enlarge

Key works

Setting up construction compounds

Timing: Set up 2018-2019 and operating until 2022

Construction compounds provide a base for workers, equipment and machinery. The main base for tunnel construction is at the northern portal on Whitehall Street, Yarraville. The Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) will be launched here and a spoil management facility set up to deal with earth and water generated by tunnelling. To minimise disruption we are:

  • Fitting noise covers to noisy machinery and equipment
  • Using covered conveyors, sheds and trucks to reduce dust
  • Fencing and screening the site for safety
  • Reducing traffic in and out at peak times to limit traffic disruption.

We use best practice techniques at our construction compounds and we:

  • Meet all requirements for managing noise, dust and traffic
  • Give our neighbours advanced notice about what to expect during works
  • Reinstate or improve compound areas after construction
  • Provide parking for workers.

North Yarra Main Sewer works

Timing: 2018-2019

Before work on the tunnel can begin, a 600 metre section of the North Yarra Main Sewer under Whitehall Street needs to be diverted.

This is a big job and will take around one year to complete.

Read more about diverting the North Yarra Main Sewer.

Building the tunnel portals

Timing: 2018-2021 

The start and end of each tunnel will be built using the ‘cut and cover’ method. This involves excavating a trench then covering it with a concrete deck to form a roof. This is where the TBMs start and end their journey.

Westbound tunnel portal

Westbound tunnel portal


Timing: 2019-2021

Two state-of-the-art Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) will build the twin tunnels. These machines use the latest tunnelling technology and are custom designed and built to suit ground conditions in Melbourne’s west.

The TBMs start their journey at the northern portal and move south-west towards the southern portals in the West Gate Freeway. Work will start on the 4 kilometre outbound tunnel first, closely followed by the 2.8 kilometre inbound tunnel. The longer tunnel will take around 18 months to bore.

While the TBM bores through the earth, a mobile factory behind it installs a concrete lining – forming the walls, roof and base of the tunnel. Behind the TBM, crews of up to 20 people work to build the road surface and install electrics, ventilation and safety systems.

The tunnel will be 27.2 metres at its deepest point.

Click to enlarge image

Work hours

Tunnelling operations will take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The TBMs will work around the clock, and the main tunnelling construction compound at Whitehall Street will be busy both day and night.

Upcoming work

In early 2018, work will begin to prepare for construction including relocating services such as the North Yarra Main Sewer and setting up construction compounds.

We will also keep people informed of activities taking place in their local area by:

Why tunnel?

A tunnel allows a freeway connection to be built in established residential and commercial areas with far fewer impacts and many benefits including:

  • moving through traffic away from homes
  • reducing traffic noise on local streets
  • reducing trucks on local streets
  • reducing disruption during construction as much of the work happens below ground
  • supporting urban redevelopment opportunities by protecting land on the surface.

More information

For more information, contact us on 1800 105 105.

We have a team that is dedicated to working with the community. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions or concerns.

Download the factsheet Construction overview – Tunnels [PDF, 1.4mb]

Also available in Chinese (PDF, 1.4mb)Greek (PDF, 1.4mbItalian (PDF, 1.4mb)Vietnamese (PDF, 1.4mb)

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